Lakers hold auditions for 28th pick in NBA draft

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error EL SEGUNDO — Kyle Kuzma on Monday spoke confidently when he was asked what he can provide an NBA team.“I think I can bring to the NBA just versatility,” he said. “I think the league is going to four men that can pass, dribble, shoot, defend. And I think I can do all that and bring that to the table at this highest level.”The 6-foot-9 power forward out of Utah and five others auditioned to be the Lakers’ No. 28 pick in the NBA draft June 22. The Lakers are expected to take Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick. The others were point guard Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga), 6-10 forward/center Thomas Bryant (Indiana), 6-7 guard Andrew White (Syracuse), 6-8 forward V.J. Beachem (Notre Dame) and guard Dominique Hawkins (Kentucky). Bryant, Kuzma and Williams-Goss were underclassmen.Kuzma, projected as a second-round pick, averaged 16.3 points and 9.3 rebounds this past season as a junior for the Utes. He blocked only 14 shots, but he was second on the team in assists with a 2.4 average and shot 50.2 percent from the field – 32.1 (27 of 84) from deep. Kuzma smiled when asked about Magic Johnson.“That’s one of the people I grew up idolizing,” he said. “He’s from Michigan and I’m from Michigan, too. So I’ve always been a fan of his and seeing him in person, talking to him and interacting, was awesome.”Williams-Goss wore a big smile when he referenced the Lakers’ new honcho.“It’s unbelievable, unbelievable,” he said. “I mean, best point guard to ever play the game, in my opinion. Always been a fan, so just a blessing to be able to meet him.”But there was business to take care of, and Williams-Goss believes he did that Monday.“I don’t think I’m really trying to prove anything,” said Williams-Goss, who is also projected to go in the second round. “I think they’ve seen us enough over the course of the season. But I’m just trying to show myself, who I am as a person, good character kid, compete at a very high level.“And I know how to play the game, whether it’s off the ball, on the ball, setting screens, getting my teammates open. I just feel like I’m a well-rounded player and I’m just trying to go out here and compete at the highest level I can.”Williams-Goss averaged 16.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists this past season for Gonzaga, which lost to North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament championship game.He said he took a lot from that experience.“Just how fun it is to be with a collective unit with one common goal,” Williams-Goss said. “I thought all year long our main focus was to get to the Final Four and contend for a national championship. We put all our self-accolades aside and just found out how fun that is; we didn’t care who was getting the glory, or anything like that.”Beachem averaged 14.5 points and 4.1 rebounds this past season, Bryant averaged 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds, White scored 18.5 points per game and grabbed 4.6 rebounds, and Hawkins averaged 4.7 points and 1.7 assists.center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers• PHOTOS: Monday pre-draft workoutHis goal for Monday?“I just wanted to get better, really,” Kuzma said. “The Lakers staff, and every workout we go to, they know what we do, our strengths and weaknesses. So it’s just coming out here, playing ball and just have fun, really.”On hand were Lakers coach Luke Walton, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka. They did not address reporters, but Kuzma talked about what Lakers brass conveyed to him.“Just that I had a hell of a workout, I competed, showed well, just gave me a few pointers to work on in the future and everything,” he said. “So it was definitely positive feedback.”last_img read more